Published 2008 390 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
All Chloe Saunders wants is a life like any normal teenager – the chance to get through school, make friends, and maybe meet a boy. But when she starts seeing ghosts, she knows that like will never be the same again.
Soon the ghosts are everywhere, demanding her attention. When Chloe finally breaks down, she’s admitted to a group home for disturbed kids. At first Lyle House seems okay, but as she gets to know the other patients – charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek; obnoxious Tori; and Rae, who has a ‘thing’ for fire – Chloe begins to realise that something strange and sinister binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual ‘problem kid’ behaviour.
And they’re about to discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home, either…
The Summoning is the first novel in a new trilogy by popular fantasy author Kelley Armstrong. The Darkest Powers trilogy marks a new chapter (apologies for the pun) for Kelley Armstrong as she branches out into the Young Adult genre.
I have to confess at this point that there are no vampires in The Summoning but since this book is set in the same universe as Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series (for adult readers) there is always the potential for them to crop up at some point. Fantasy fans won’t be mourning the loss of vampires for long however, since the Otherworld is populated by plenty of other types of supernatural beings.
The Summoning is written in the same style as the Otherworld books, only this time the story is narrated in first person by fifteen year old protagonist Chloe, rather than by an adult. It follows the story of teenage supernaturals coming into their different powers without help or guidance from someone they can trust. Sex and violence has been toned down for the teen audience but The Summoning still has plenty of supernatural thrills and chills.
Edge-of-your-seat tension is built through the first half of the story as Chloe starts to question the diagnosis of schizophrenia that the Lyle House doctors seem so keen to label her with. For me, a large part of this tension is built through the fact that I have read the Otherworld books and therefore know that in Chloe’s world werewolves, vampires, witches, necromancers and half-demons are a reality. Armed with this knowledge, I can read about her worry and puzzlement when ghosts appear to her and see, or know, what she can’t. That said, I think that if The Summoning is a readers first journey into the Otherworld the tension would still be there because it is obvious that there is something very odd about Lyle House and its patients.
Another difference between The Summoning and Kelley Armstrong’s other books is that this book is the first part of a trilogy rather than a stand alone story that is part of a series. As a result it ends on a cliff-hanger that is just about guaranteed to make you immediately want to read the next part of the trilogy.
With likeable teenage protagonists and a fast paced fantasy plotline The Summoning is sure to entertain its target Young Adult audience. Writing as someone who is quite a lot older than its teenaged target market I can confirm that this book is quite capable of entertaining adults too.
The Summoning is a hugely readable novel whatever your age (yes, even without vampires!)
Rated at 4.5 out of 5 (I knocked off half a star for the lack of vampires)
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Find out more information about Kelley Armstrong’s books by visiting Kelley's website
Read the first 2 chapters of The Summoning online at ChloeSaunders.com